Auchenstroan Coloured Ryelands

We are Adrian and Nicole Doyle and this is our web site where we show our life on our small holding and showcase the products that we sell.

We are delighted to offer a range of handmade felted fleece rugs, also known as “vegetarian sheepskin rugs”, and handmade felted fleece cushions.  These are made from the wool (not the sheepskin) from our own sheep and no animal is harmed in the process.  You can buy them from our shop, please have a look.

We have also just published Adrian’s book on smallholding life which you can buy in our shop (paperback – UK only) or via Amazon (paperback and ebook).

Latest Stories from Auchenstroan

compost bin

Compost Shuffle

Part of the sustainable living ethos is re-using stuff.  We generate a lot of garden waste and this all goes into a large compost bin.  Of course, over time, it

sheep having a drink

New trough welcome in hot weather

Despite living in what is generally considered to be a wet part of Britain, we do have prolonged dry spells.  In fact, for the last 3 years, there have weeks

cuckoo maran egg

Bim Lays an Egg

Since June last year, Bim has been suffering from egg peritonitis, a common condition in hens of all ages for which the prognosis is usually death.  Last year, we managed

hoggy coming out of feeder

Hoggy out and about

Last November, I found a tiny hedgehog wandering around the garden.  It was too small (less than 300g) to survive the winter, so we took it in (see hedgehog seeks


Coppicing Time

We have quite a large area of willow woodland which spans either side of one of the burns that run through our smallholding.  One of the spring jobs is to

duck house

Duck House installed

In our smallholding here, we have a small loch which attracts ducks, herons and other water birds including geese and even occasionally, a cormorant.  We also have a duck house

hedgehog released back into the wild

Hoggy Released

Last November, I found a tiny hedgehog wandering around the garden.  At less than 300g, she would never have survived the winter.  We took her in and she has overwintered

Water system extended

Once a year, we borrow some cows from a neighbouring farm.  We do these because they are good for the pasture.  They eat out the long grass making it accessible

Cherokee calls out Mountain rescue

Our chickens have a large area in which they can roam freely.  They share it with the sheep as the sheeps' winter hay and main shelter are located in this

carrot box complete

Carrot box ready

We try to grow as many of the vegetables we eat as we can.  However, in the last couple of years, we have been engaged in a battle of wills

sheep waiting for vaccination

Sheep vaccinations go well

One of the annual responsibilities we have as smallholders is to vaccinate the sheep.  Each year, they get an injection of Heptavac.  The interesting challenge is how best to do

log pile chopped

Next year’s firewood

Our heating runs mainly on wood.  We have a woodburner which also acts as a boiler.  This means we can get through a fair amount of wood each winter.  In


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Review for Felted Fleece Cushion
Beautiful Cushion

I had been looking for a felted sheepskin cushion to go in a little reading nook I’ve set up. I saw a few online but the Auchenstroan cushions looked the best of what I saw. The cushion is indeed lovely, warm and cuddly, well made and has a wonderful scent of cedarwood.

Review for This Smallholding Life - Book
Honest and Practical

Full of facts and figures, this book is what you need if you are seriously considering setting up a smallholding. Adrian doesn’t hold back with the reality of both the financial and emotional investment you will need to be a smallholder. It is refreshing to read about the mistakes made and occasional animal lost. I highly recommend this book.

Review for This Smallholding Life - Book
A refreshing read, different from other smallholder books

I really enjoyed this book because it mixes it real life anecdotes with information useful for someone thinking about moving to a smallholding. It is therefore very engaging and not “just another book about how to live off the land”. I found it also to be a very honest book in as far as it might even put someone off taking the leap into the smallholder life! It basically spells out that unless you have another job of some sort you are not going to make ends meet no matter how many eggs you intend to sell by the side of the road. I liked this approach because it encourages you to think very carefully before throwing yourself into investing in pigs, sheep, cows or whatever you have in mind. Personally I had absolutely no idea sheep were such hard work and for so little return! My eyes have really been opened, next time I drive along a road and see a field of sheep and lambs I will spare a thought for the farmers and shepherds working away behind the scenes for ridiculously long hours in all kinds of weather. I found the tables on “how much profit can be made” on each animal very illuminating. Also the charts on what each animal needs. It is certainly food for thought because I now know that the smallholder life is not by any means a cheap and cheerful life, it is quite an expensive life, especially at the beginning with all the infrastructure needing putting in place and investment in livestock. I can now see why many smallholders run courses or sell high value or unusual items, just to make their animals pay for their hay, let alone turn a profit. I would absolutely still consider the smallholder life, it has been a dream of mine for a very long time, but after reading this book I will now be thinking about ways to balance a part time job with running a smallholding as opposed to simply living off the land.

Review for This Smallholding Life - Book
Review of This Smallholding Life - Book

Good mix of facts and figures and real stories that can bring a tear to your eye or make you laugh out loud. I strongly recommend it

Review for This Smallholding Life - Book
Review of This Smallholding Life - Book

Over the years I have ready many many books on smallholding life. These all seemed to fall into one of two types of books. The instructional manual that tells you all the facts you need to now to run your smallholding. Bit like a Haynes car manual. It all looks clinical and easy, but in real life, the nuts are corroded, and nothing comes apart in the way the manual shows you. The other type is the storybook, full of fun anecdotes about small holding life, which is entertaining to read, but limited in factual detail.

I feel Adrian gets the mix of fact and anecdote spot on. There are chapters what it costs to keep livestock, equipment needed, amount of land needed and so on, but also mixed with real life experience, what it’s like to look after sheep, bees, veg plots and so on.

I had to ration myself to one chapter per day otherwise I would have consumed the book in one reading,

Definitely a 5 star read.

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